Michael Palin Centre

Your First Appointment

 

What to expect when you arrive.

Did you know?

... children who stammer need more time to say what they want to say

Your First Appointment

YOUR CONSULTATION AT THE CENTRE

Children & young people
Consultations are funded by Action for Stammering Children (ASC). ASC also funds a 6-month review which is offered after the consultation.

Islington and Camden Residents

• You will have already had a brief screening appointment (by telephone or in the clinic).
• If you have been sent questionnaires to complete you should send them back to the Centre before your consultation.
• Your consultation takes place in 2 parts. Generally speaking you will work with the same specialist MPC therapist for both sessions.
• In the first appointment one of the MPC therapists will work with your son or daughter to complete an assessment. This takes about 90 minutes.
• The second appointment is a parent session which takes approximately 2 hours. Where the family comprises two parents living together we require both parents to attend. Where parents have separated but are both equally involved and both have parental rights and responsibilities we can offer separate sessions.
• After the consultation we will send you a clinical report that outlines the decisions that were made together. This will come to parents first to agree before the report is distributed to other professionals working with the child.

Other parts of the UK

• If you have a local speech and language therapist they will have been invited to attend the Consultation as well. If they are not able to attend we will liaise with them by phone and they may take part in the consultation through video-conferencing. Wherever possible we prefer that they attend in person.
• Your appointment will last approximately 3½ hours.
• When you arrive you will meet your two specialist MPC therapists who will work with you for the session. One will work with parents and one with the child or young person. To see more about your first visit to the MPC click here. (DVD clip).
• After the consultation we will send you a clinical report that outlines the decisions that were made together. This will come to parents first to agree before distribution.

FAQs about the Consultation

Why is the appointment so long?
It takes about 2 hours to complete a case history with parents and the same amount of time for the child or young person to complete their assessment. There is a break in the middle which lasts for about 20 minutes so that the two MPC therapists and your local therapist can confer. Then there is a final conversation for parents with their therapist to talk about stammering in general and answer any questions, go through the assessment results, and to discuss the main things which seem to contribute to the child or young person's vulnerability to stammering. Older children and young people also have time to talk about these issues with their therapist. There is also time to discuss recommendations and agree a plan that everyone is happy with. This section takes about an hour.

What happens in my son or daughter's session?
The therapist working with your son or daughter will

  • assess their fluency by recording a speech sample and analysing this
  • go through a structured conversation with your son or daughter about their speech, in order to gain a sense of the degree to which stammering impacts on their everyday confidence in communicating and on their life in general
  • look at questionnaires that have been completed
  • complete a screening assessment for language skills if this has not been done beforehand

The therapist will also be gauging your son or daughter's interest in therapy, talking about stammering at a level that is appropriate to their age and awareness of stammering and, sometimes, trying out some basic therapy techniques.

What happens in the parent session?
The therapist will ask you about different aspects of your son or daughter's life. This includes their stammer but also school life, friends, family life, health etc. Stammering is complex and many things can contribute to either making a child vulnerable to stammering or exacerbating a vulnerability. We know parents don't cause stammering, but we do want to make the most of your expertise which is why we ask both parents to be there whenever possible.

You will have time to ask questions about stammering generally, hear about the assessment results, share your conclusions with the therapist and make a decision together about what you would like to do next.

How are decisions made?
Our staff will work with you, your son or daughter, and your local therapist to help you decide what you would like to do next. We offer suggestions and recommendations based on our time with you and our expertise in stammering and we then invite you to consider what you would like to do. With our teenage clients we encourage them to be active in this decision making process and we explain this at the beginning of the session. Sometimes people make decisions while they are here, while sometimes people take more time to think things over.

What if my son or daughter does not stammer much on the day?
That doesn't matter. We know that stammering varies and that we may or may not see the stammer the way you do elsewhere or at other times. However, you will be able to tell us about how it can be at other times.

What if one of us (parents) cannot attend on the day?
Please do call us to talk about this as soon as you know there is a problem. We place great emphasis on meeting with both parents where this is the structure of the family and will want to arrange an alternative appointment time where you will both be able to attend. If there is a last minute problem we will be able to assess your son or daughter but not complete the consultation fully until you have both attended your parent session.

We (parents) have separated - is it still important that we both attend?
Where both parents continue to be actively involved then it is ideal that both are involved in the MPC assessment process, however we are happy to offer each parent their own session. Occasionally, separated or divorced parents decide to attend together but many prefer to have separate sessions and it is a good idea to talk to one of the MPC therapists about this before making plans.

What about therapy - where will that happen?
This varies. Sometimes our role is to make recommendations which are carried out by a local therapist. Sometimes families come to us for therapy. This decision is made collaboratively between MPC staff and the local therapy service, taking into account the preference of clients. For this to happen funding agreements between the Michael Palin Centre and the family's local Primary Care Trust or PCT need to be agreed. We discuss this at your consultation.
Click here if you are a therapist wanting to know more about the consultation process.

Adults

You will be offered an assessment session which will last approximatey 2½ hours.
The therapist will:
• go through a structured interview with you which will help you to understand the ways in which stammering impacts on your life and what you want to do at this point
• look at the questionnaires that you have completed
• record a sample of speech to analyse
• talk with you about the nature of stammering, give you time to ask questions, talk about key issues that have cropped up during your discussion together, talk about therapy options and help you decide what you would like to do next
• after the consultation we will send you a clinical report that outlines the decisions that were made together. This will come to you first to agree before distribution

What if I am not stuttering much on the day?
That doesn't matter. We know that stammering varies and that we may or may not see the stammer the way you experience it elsewhere or at other times. However, you will be able to tell your therapist about how it can be at other times.

What sort of therapy do you offer for adults?
The MPC staff are specialists who have training and experience in a number of therapy approaches. If you decide to have therapy it may focus on psychological aspects of stammering, using a psychological approach, for example Cognitive Therapy or Brief Therapy. Alternatively, your therapy may focus on developing better skills at managing moments of stammering or on generally increasing your confidence in communicating. Often therapy integrates these three components.